Saturday, February 27, 2016

Vending Machine Project Part 2

 The vending machine restoration has begun!  Today I decided to start working on the exterior cosmetics of the machine. I targeted the small dents and sanding projects.

I began be taking out the interior mechanism of the vending machine.  There are really just a couple screws holding things in place, so this was elementary.  I downloaded a schematic of all the parts of the machine for future use reassembling, and I also took lots of pictures on my phone of all the parts before I took everything apart.

After the inside guts were gone, it was time to try to tackle the two small dents that are on one of the side panels of the metal housing.  I saw on YouTube that one tip to removing dents was to heat the metal with a hairdryer or heat gun to warm the metal first.  I did this then hit the dents from the inside on a wood spacer to distribute the force of the hammer.  Honestly, it did have some impact on the dents.  I didn't get the dents out completely, but by feel I could feel a that the dents were lessoned.  I can live with a few dents, it is a used machine after all.

After I finished with the dents, it was time to begin sanding.  I made sure to get a mask on before I started.  I had bought one along with a nice 3M sanding block that was about 100 grit.  I started on the bottom to see how it would work, and it was great at roughing up the old paint and removing any corroded parts (which are not much at all).  The sanding went great, and I got all the sanding done, inside and out, of the main exterior metal housing.

Next session I'll sand the top piece, which is also painted red at the moment.  Then I will clean it all up with mineral spirits to prep it for painting.  So what color is it going to be?

I really want to make it look like a vending machine for JackBear Stamps, so I'm going with my dominate color in my logo and branding, so it will be GREEN!  I also plan on painting the text from my logo on the sides panels.

Stay tuned until next time!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Vending Machine Project Part 1

Back in April of 2015 I came across the idea of selling art in a vending machine.  I don't know if something came across one of my numerous social media feeds, or if someone mentioned it in a meeting, but the spark of the idea took light in the tinder in my mind.  Since then I have been finding other similar projects others have embarked on. I also started trolling Ebay until I found the machine I wanted.  But I shouldn't get ahead of myself.

A great resource on art through vending machines I found at  This blog has a great history page of other vending machine art projects over the last century.  Through their history page I learned aboutthe largest "art in a machine" projects: Art-O-Mat. Art-O-Mat machines can be found all over the US.  Each machine is a reconditioned cigarette vending machine that dispenses art in a cigarette pack, usually at the $5 price point.  Each machine itself is a work of art.  Out in Chicago, the Busy Beaver Button Company has been doing a Button-O-Matic project since 2002.  Using a toy capsule vending machine to sell buttons seemed like a natural fit.  I also reached out to the Vending Arts Project in London, Ontario.  Janine Wass said that the project wasn't a huge money maker but I love the idea of greeting cards through a repurposed snack machine.  And these were just a few I found!

With so much inspiration to draw from, I began bouncing ideas off my friends and family.  I began brainstorming idea.  Should I put mini rubber stamps in a machine, or buttons, stickers, or all of the above?  What would be the topic; mythical creatures, food, candy?  What price, 50 cents, $1.00? So after much thinking, and watching Ebay for a solid machine at a good price, I pulled the trigger.  I am now the proud owner of a Northwestern capsule vending machine that dispenses 2" capsules.

So the machine is mechanically solid.  It came with a 50 cent coin mechanism, but I will likely replace this shortly with a $1.00 coin mech (four quarters).  The paint is chipped in a few places, and it has a few dents, but I have been watching some YouTube clips and plan on giving it a nice facelift with a new color.  The plexiglass (polycarbonate) face has some scratches that I will try to buff our, or replace if necessary.  The machine can sit on a table right now, but I might add a wooden stand for it to sit on.  So after a little tender loving care, I'm sure it will be looking as good as new.

So what is going to be IN the machine?  What will come out of it?  Stay tuned....

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Empire Stamps Back

Back in November, I participated as an exhibitor at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire.  This was my second year (review from 2014). This year my project was called "The Empire Stamps Back."  I had various hand carved rubber stamps that I made, and instructions on how to doodle Star Wars characters from finger and thumb prints.  Participants could use these to create a free postcard to take home. The inspiration came from the book, "Star Wars Thumb Doodles" by Klutz.  With the upcoming release of "The Force Awakens" I thought this would be the perfect year to let kids play around with the Star Wars universe.

Here are some pictures you can click through of prints I made leading up to the event, then some from the Faire itself...
The Empire Stamps Back

The project was a big hit with the kids especially, and several adults.  The kids were willing to jump right in and take a risk.  Many of the adults seemed intimidated to make a postcard, or get inky.  It was interesting watch this psychology all day.  The children would run up to the table, and start right in, while the adults would take two steps back into a supervisory pattern to watch their offspring make something.

I didn't get a chance to circulate much around the Faire, but several adults circled back to tell me that my table was their kids favorite.

The project really helped me think about how each of these characters are made up of different shapes.  I know illustrators really start with shapes as the structure of a character, and this project helped me reverse engineer what some of the shapes were for humans and aliens alike.